Levine: Staying alive in the independent leagues

From SABR member Zachary Levine at Baseball Prospectus on April 23, 2013:

Apologies for the belated greetings of happy Opening Day, but the Atlantic League opener really snuck up on us last week.

It shouldn’t have. The Atlantic League, and its fellow independent circuits, are among the best things about baseball. There are guys who will be scouted and signed into the 30 major league organizations, a few of whom may even make the big leagues. There are those on the way down from major league or minor league careers. There are combinations of the two, like Scott Kazmir, who started for the Indians Saturday after salvaging his career in the Atlantic League last season.

And then there are those who are just trying to squeeze out one more opening day before embarking on a reality without any more opening days.

That’s true of all the independent leagues, but the great thing about the Atlantic League—seven teams in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic and a geographic sore thumb and architectural gem in Sugar Land, Texas—is how many recognizable names there are either trying to get back or just trying to hang on.

Dozens of ex-big leaguers dot the rosters this year, including All-Stars, prospects-turned busts, and a potential Hall-of-Famer.

So with apologies to Lenny DiNardo and Brian Tallet (Lancaster), Michael Wuertz, Eric Patterson, and Jason Repko (York), Gary Majewski, Sean Gallagher, and Jason Bergmann (Sugar Land), Jeff Fulchino (Bridgeport), Jake Fox (Somerset), Brian Barton (Southern Maryland) and Josh Barfield (Long Island), my 15 favorite names on the fascinating rosters of the Atlantic League.

Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=20323

Originally published: April 23, 2013. Last Updated: April 23, 2013.